How Telecom Companies Can Use Technology to Improve Customer Service


How Telecom Companies Can Use Technology to Improve Customer Service

By TMCnet Special Guest
Marne Martin, ServicePower
  |  October 02, 2013

Telecom companies often struggle to achieve two important metrics – customer satisfaction and retention. In the digital era, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for telecom companies to deliver a high level of customer service across new technological branches and far-reaching geographic areas.

Many telecom companies fail the first time a customer contacts the company for assistance because they’re not able to quickly response to requests. The customer experience often gets even worse from there as technicians in the field show up late, can’t fix a problem, or simply don’t know what they’re doing.

As demand for data continues to rise, telecom companies need to identify new strategies for improving customer service in the field.

Four Areas Where Telecoms Fail

Many telecom companies are unable to decrease costs and cycle time, while simultaneously increasing productivity, profitability and field utilization. According to a workforce management guide published by Aberdeen (News - Alert), most field-service organizations experience failures for the following reasons:

Poor scheduling process: Customers who call for service are often seeking immediate attention, and a large component of customer dissatisfaction comes from telecoms that are unable to handle same-day or next-day appointments.

Neglected appointments: Failing to send technicians during the scheduled appointment time causes customers to become frustrated and upset. When technicians miss their arrival times without warning, customers feel that their time and money has been wasted.

Numerous visits: Field technicians should be able to complete the job on the first visit. When telecom companies prolong the process by sending a second technician because the first is unable to fix the problem or install the product, they risk losing future business.

Insufficient technology: Telecom companies need to empower their technicians with the right on-site field technology to handle extraneous customer issues, such as providing bill estimates, scheduling additional appointments and finding parts. Technicians should be empowered to address unexpected customer issues that arise at the time of service.

Telecom companies must overcome these challenges to avoid losing future business or damaging their brand reputation with poor customer reviews.

Four Ways to Improve Customer Service

Placing a larger emphasis on all aspects of the customer experience can help telecom companies perform more efficiently and ensure customer satisfaction every step of the way. There are several things telecom companies can do to address the four major areas of failure and improve customer service in the field.

Centralize scheduling management: To best meet customer requirements, scheduling systems should be centrally managed so technicians can serve customers as soon as they need help. Optimizing the schedule system will enable telecom companies to assist customers more efficiently. Telecoms should implement systems that integrate labor pools so full-time employees and third-party contractors can be managed seamlessly to meet fluctuations in demand. When telecoms create field schedules, they should consider the technicians’ abilities, knowledge of the geographic area, and travel conditions.

Empower technicians with mobile resources: Technicians in the field need mobile technology to view their jobs, schedule appointments, access parts, and handle billing and payment processes. Telecoms need to provide field technicians with the right tools and technologies to efficiently meet customer requests. Device-agnostic mobile systems allow technicians access to all the real-time information they need in the field so they don’t miss appointments or show up late. Field-service mobile solutions also allow telecoms to see the exact location of all technicians and check on the status of a particular job.

Integrated parts: Telecom companies can reduce costs and improve manual processes by better organizing the allocation of parts in the field. Combining field stocking locations with optimized transportation routes ensures that technicians can easily access the parts they need to perform installation or repair services. Telecoms should closely monitor stocking locations to ensure that customers aren’t kept waiting because technicians don’t have the right parts. This will reduce the number of repeat visits that drive customers crazy.

Cloud-based technology: Deploying cloud-based workforce management platforms allows telecom companies to collect real-time data, enabling them to improve productivity, margins and customer satisfaction. Built-in performance tools allow executives to track metrics such as job cost, travel times, job complete times, technician skills, schedule adherence and productivity. Cloud tools provide access to important metrics across the company, providing key insights that wouldn’t otherwise be available.

If telecoms embrace these solutions, they can shed their reputation for poor customer service and improve retention.

Marne Martin is interim CEO of ServicePower (

Edited by Alisen Downey
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